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Overview

This scene is painted on the reverse side of Dürer's Madonna and Child. The story of Lot and his daughters comes from the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis. In the foreground, Lot and his two children are portrayed fleeing from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which erupt in blinding explosions of fire in the background. Lot's wife is visible on the path at the upper left in the middle distance. She has been turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying the divine command by looking back on the scene of retribution.

This scene was important for the moral lesson it taught. Like the story of Noah and the flood, that of Lot and the desolation of Sodom and Gomorrah was an allegory demonstrating the power of God to save the righteous.

Since the combination of the story of Lot with the depiction of the Virgin and Child is extremely unusual, the exact relation of the two images remains unclear. However, they could be understood as two examples of the value of a just life and of the pervasive grace of God, especially if the Madonna and Child on the obverse was intended as a private devotional image.

Inscription

center left on rock in monogram: AD

Provenance

Probably a member of the Haller family, Nuremberg.[1] Possibly Paul von Praun [d. 1616] and descendants, Nuremberg, until at least 1778.[2] Charles à Court Repington [d. 1925], Amington Hall, Warwickshire; sold to Mrs. Phyllis Loder, London.[3] (sale, Christie's, London, 29 April 1932, no. 51, as Bellini); (Vaz Dias.)[4] Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza [1875-1947], Villa Favorita, Lugano-Castagnola, by 1934. (Pinakos, Inc. [Rudolf Heinemann] on consignment to M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1950);[5] purchased 1950 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 by exchange to NGA.

Exhibition History
1986
Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg 1300-1550, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 1986, no. 109 (shown only in New York).
2003
Albrecht Dürer, Albertina, Vienna, 2003, no. 29, repro.
2007
Dürer e l'Italia, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 2007, no. IV.20, repro.
2007
Durero y Cranach: Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2007-2008, no. 105, repro.
2012
The Early Dürer, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 2012, no. 53, repro.
Bibliography
1934
Buchner, Ernst. "Die Sieben Schmerzen Mariä: eine Tafel aus der Werkstatt des Jungen Dürer." Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst N.F. 11 (1934): 262, 264, 265, 268, 270, figs. 10-11.
1937
Heinemann, Rudolf. Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. 3 vols. Lugano-Castagnola, 1937: 1:47, no. 127, 2:pl. 31.
1937
Tietze, Hans, and Erika Tietze-Conrat. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers. 3 vols. Basel and Leipzig, 1937: 2:15-16, no. 130b, repro. 173.
1951
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1945-1951. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: 190 under no. 84, 192, repro. 193.
1952
Walker, John. "Your National Gallery of Art After 10 Years." National Geographic Magazine 101 no. 1 (January 1952): 74, 94, repro.
1954
Tietze, Hans. Treasures of the Great National Galleries. New York, 1954: 117.
1956
Mühlberger, Richard. The Bible in Art: The Old Testament. London, 1956: 209, pl. 36.
1956
Shapley, Fern Rusk. National Gallery of Art. Smithsonian Institution--Portfolio Number 5: Masterpieces from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Washington, 1956: under no. 5.
1957
Winkler, Friedrich. Albrecht Dürer--Leben und Werk. Berlin, 1957: 73.
1959
Stange, Alfred. "Ein Gemälde aus Dürers Wanderzeit?" In Studien zur Kunst des Oberrheins. Festschrift für Werner Noack. Konstanz and Freiburg, 1959: 116.
1960
Broadley Hugh T. German Painting in the National Gallery of Art (Booklet no. 9 in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Washington, 1960: 22-23, color repro.
1961
Seymour, Charles. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings & Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961: 80, 83, 210, color fig. 74.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 116, 305.
1966
Musper, Heinrich Theodor. Albrecht Dürer. Translated by Robert Eric Wolf. New York, [1966]: 24, 74, repro. 75.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 38, no. 1099 reverse, repro.
1968
Zampa, Giorgio and Angela Ottino della Chiesa, L'opera completa di Dürer. Milan, 1968: 95, no. 50b, pl. 10.
1971
Anzelewsky, Fedja. Albrecht Dürer. Das Malerische Werk. Berlin, 1971: 56-57, 90, 140-142, no. 44, pls. 40, 45, 46, color repro. 3, facing 40. (Rev. ed. 1991: 56-57, 91, 94, 142-144, no. 44, fig. 27, color pl. 42-44.)
1973
Oehler, Lisa. "Das Dürermonogramm auf Werken der Dürerschule." Städel-Jahrbuch N.F. 4 (1973): 72.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue (National Gallery of Art). Washington, 1975: 116-117, no. 1099 reverse, repro.
1975
Paltrinieri, Marisa and Franco De Poli. I Geni dell'arte: Dürer. Milan, 1975: 37, 56, 57, 59, 63, repros.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 150-151, no. 163, repro.
1976
Mende, Matthias. Albrecht Dürer: Das Frühwerk bis 1500. Herrsching, 1976: 69, fig. 31
1976
Strieder, Peter. Dürer. Milan, 1976: 42-45, 180, no. 12, repros.
1978
Southgate, M. Therese. "Albrecht Dürer: Lot and His Daughters.'" Journal of the American Medical Association 240, no. 12 (15 September 1978): cover, 2, color repro.
1979
Sutton, Denys. "Robert Langton Douglas. Part IV." Apollo 110 (July 1979): 13 [205], 18 [210], fig. 30.
1980
Anzelewsky, Fedja. Dürer--vie et oeuvre. Translated by Monique Fuchs. Fribourg, 1980: 74, 88-89, color fig. 71.
1982
Strieder, Peter. Albrecht Dürer. Paintings. Prints. Drawings. Translated from German by Nancy M. Gordon and Walter L. Strauss. New York, 1982: 316, 318, fig. 417.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 148-149, no. 154, color repro.
1986
Mulazzani, Germano. "Raphael and Venice: Giovanni Bellini, Dürer, and Bosch." In James Beck, ed. Raphael Before Rome. Studies in the History of Art 17 (1986): 151, fig. 4.
1993
Ezendam, Yolanda. Dürer. Translated by Mauro Liloni. Milan, 1993: fig. 20.
1995
Davies, Philip R. "Abraham & Yahweh: A Case of Male Bonding." Bible Review 11, no. 4 (August 1995): 28-29, color repro.
1995
Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 15.
1997
Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA: One Hundred Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. St. Louis, 1997: 58-59, color repro.
1999
Dunkerton, Jill. "North and South: Painting Techniques in Venice." In Renaissance Venice and the North: Crosscurrents in the Time of Bellini, Dürer and Titian. Exh. cat. Palazzo Grassi, 1999. Venice, 1999: 101.
2001
Mende, Matthias. "Dürer, Albrecht." In Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Munich and Leipzig, 1992-[unfinished] [vols.] Munich and Leipzig, 2001: 30:301.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: v, 76-77, 142-143, no. 111, color repros.
2010
Wolf, Norbert. Dürer. Munich, 2010: 238, no. 14, repro.
2013
Delaney, John K., E. Melanie Gifford, Lisha D. Glinsman, John Oliver Hand, and Catherine Metzger. "Common Painting and Diligent Fiddling: Technical Analysis for Insight into the Divergent Styles of Dürer's 'Madonna and Child'/'Lot and his Daughters'. In The Challenge of the Object / Die Herausforderung des Objekts. 33rd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art. Nuremberg, 2013: 1036-1040, fig. 2.
Technical Summary

Lot and His Daughters is quite different from the obverse in both its manner of execution and state of preservation. A ground or preparation layer is either not present or not readily discernible; it is possible that there is a layer of glue or glue with a very small admixture of calcium carbonate that has become transparent. There is no underdrawing visible either to the naked eye or under infrared reflectography. The monogram rendered in brown paint is not visible under infrared reflectography, whereas the dark lines defining the surrounding rock formations are visible, indicating the presence of black pigment in the latter. If the monogram were very recent, it is likely that it would be made visible with infrared reflectography. Numerous small losses are scattered throughout and reflect worm damage, abrasion, impacts to the surface, and flaking due to movement of the unprimed wood. The joins of the panel have opened in the past and have visible inpainting.